RochesterJune 19, 2012
Green Living Festival to draw thousands this weekend
By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer
ROCHESTER — Organizers are hoping the Green Living Festival will draw large crowds this weekend as the seventh annual event comes to downtown Rochester.
This year’s event was moved from mid-May to the first weekend of summer, June 22-24, in the hopes of better weather for festival goers.
“We moved it to a summer date so there won’t be an issue of it begin warm enough this year,” Green Living Festival Manager John Batdorf said.
But the date isn’t the only thing different this year, according to Batdorf. The seventh annual festival features many other improvements, including a more open event layout, longer festival hours on Friday evening, interactive Web and smartphone maps for exhibit locations and information, national musical acts, expanded wellness programs, presentations by national experts, and more.
Presented by MI Green Team, the event typically draws tens of thousands of people each year to learn about healthy living, and earth-friendly products, services and programs.
“The event is really about being inclusive and opening our arms to where people are headed, the kinds of things people can do themselves to lead a greener and healthier life and be environmentally sensitive and respectful,” Batdorf said.
This year’s event — held from 4-9 p.m. June 22, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. June 23 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 24, rain or shine — showcases ways for people to shop, learn and celebrate eco-friendly alternatives with more than 200 exhibits, more than 50 presentations, educational roundtables, kids activities, main-stage and street entertainment, organic foods and beverages, free wellness activities, prizes, contests, and more. Admission to the festival and all the programs are free and open to all ages.
“A lot of families enjoy the festival. That’s probably our biggest demographic, as far as attendance,” Batdorf said.
Organizers don’t see the Main Street Makeover as a problem because the planned construction detour borders the festival site, a 100,000 square foot vacant lot at Water and Third streets, bringing thousands of vehicles past the festival each day.
“The posted detour will bring you right to us, and we will have six to 12 hours of festival activities each day, so any wait will be well worth it,” Batdorf said.
Festival-goers can shop a variety green and wellness products, services and programs, which are arranged into 10 groups — including Wellness Way, Green Living, Green Home and more — and feature everything from how to set up a rain barrel and solar power products, to an art fair featuring natural and recycled products.
They can take a peek at hybrid and electric vehicles, renewable energy systems and other innovative technologies or learn something new during one of the many wellness programs, featuring presentations by national wellness leaders. Dr. Michael Greger, a preventive nutrition physician best known as Oprah Winfrey’s food safety expert; Dr. Kerrie Saunders, diet and disease prevention expert and best-selling author; Dr. Joel Kahn, director of preventive cardiology and wellness programs at Detroit Medical Center Hospitals; and many others will give presentations during the event.
The Green Living Festival will also feature a variety of presentations on green living, including local food systems, detoxing your life, biodynamics, the Clean Air Act, yoga, super foods and more.
Foodies can head to Farmers Row to purchase a variety of organic produce, meats and other items, or stop by the organic food court for a bite of locally made, organic and/or vegetarian dishes.
Children will be entertained at the Kids Corner, which offers exhibits, crafts, a climbing tower, a straw bale maze and a full schedule of kids’ activities. Adults may want to stop by the Connections Café to help build the community through networking, see some noncommercial displays and participate in roundtable discussions by local nonprofits.
Those looking to unwind can stop by the Party for the Planet, a weekend-long party produced by the Rochester Mills Beer Co. that continues beyond festival hours until 10 p.m. June 22 and 23, and features local craft beer, sustainable food and music by more than a dozen bands.
There will be a Green Living Parade and Pep Rally around the festival area and down the Paint Creek Trail at 11 a.m. June 23. Marchers and performers are encouraged to register before the event, and prizes will be awarded.
Major sponsors of the Green Living Festival include The Home Depot and Pure Eco Environmental Solutions.
“We’re able to do a free event because of our great sponsorship,” said Will Rex, operations director for the event.
For all event details, including program schedules, lists of participants and registration for the parade, visit www.miglf.com.
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